The Balance of Structural and Decorative Design

It’s time for a throwback to my time in high school with a vase I created Freshman year. A book I was reading on my recent flight to New York;  Art in Everyday Life, by Harriet and Vetta Goldstein, got me thinking about the vase again.

The book starts out explaining the importance of good taste in design, then goes into a chapter about the balance of structural and decorative design. This was the part that piqued my interest because in one section it compared two vases: one with both good structural and decorative design (fig. 7 – left) and the other with good structural design, but poor decorative design (fig. 8-right).

The vase they described as being “bad” has a similar decorative design to one I created in high school. It was amusing, insulting, and thought provoking. It really made me rethink how I feel about my piece.

Ceramic vase crafted by Sara Kerr, age 15.Looking at my vase now, I feel the primary shape of it is well designed, but the handle is way under sized and poorly crafted for strength. It really serves little purpose for containing anything, especially not liquids, and it can’t be picked up by it’s handle. So, it’s easy to conclude that it has poor structural design. Regarding it’s decorative design, I’m conflicted; I’ve always thought it was very beautiful and I put a lot of thought into the placement of the leaves, and vines. Besides, I meant for it to be a decorative piece. So, what do you think? Does it’s imbalance between decor and structure work for it or does it fail because of it?

1 Response

  1. I think your vase is beautiful. I agree with your point about the handle, if not designed for strength. Yes, good point, a handle is for holding. I am reading the Goldstein book and reflecting, also, on my many decisions.

    Based on the Goldstein sisters’ insights, I say your vase stands as a creative work–on its own, not as a vase.

    Very pretty.

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